Fun team building activities can encourage meaningful change in a team’s approach and results. However, one of the greatest team building challenges is making sure that these events have a positive and lasting impact. Team building games and activities often get a bad rap — in many cases, leaders work hard to plan and conduct team building activities only to find the team revert to its original behaviors upon returning to the workplace.
So how can you ensure meaningful change occurs from team building activities? We recommend the following strategies:
Set Goals for Your Team Building Activities
Set out your goal for the team building event in advance, either as part of a formal action plan for team building, or through informal discussions with the team. Having specific goals in mind dramatically increases the likelihood that real change will result from your team building effort.
Choose the Best Team Building Activity
Of course you want the team to enjoy its time together and to strengthen relationships and communication, but don’t let the “fun” get in the way of the learning. Sit down in advance to select fun team building activities that are going to support your team’s goals.
When strengthening newly formed work teams — choose team building icebreakers and activities that encourage people to get to know each other and learn more about what matters to their team members.
For teams struggling with change — choose activities that examine how change impacts the team’s interactions and results.
For teams that need to create results with limited resources — choose fun team building activities that require the team to complete a task with limited resources (materials, supplies, information or time).
When you want to strengthen team communication — consider incorporating communication style assessment tools to strengthen team members' ability to understand and adapt to the communication approach of others.
After the Fun – the Team Building Activity Debrief
To ensure lasting results, make sure you conduct a debriefing session after fun team building activities. Provide the team with a series of debriefing questions to discuss how the exercise paralleled team building challenges that occur in their workplace.
Here are some typical team building challenges that the group can discuss:
Improving team communication and conflict resolution
Achieving team goals
Sharing team resources
Clarifying the roles of team members
Strengthening teamwork and relationships
Enhancing team processes for decision making
Keep the Momentum Going
If your team building activities are successful, don’t stop there. Build on this momentum to ensure a positive, lasting change in the way your team works together and the results it produces.
Build momentum moving forward by staying in the conversation about the team building challenges you are experiencing and the solutions that have been uncovered by the team. Plan future team building activities and make sure they occur regularly — at the end of each quarter, annually, or after key project milestones. By incorporating these activities into your work environment, you show your commitment to building a strong and effective team. The result? A team that feels valued and motivated to achieve team goals.
Use our Team Building Guide (*coming soon*) to help you plan your fun team building activities and lead your team to success!
Content Editors or Webmasters: You may reprint this article providing you include the following “About the Author” information in its entirety. (Including a hyperlink to www.LeadingforLoyalty.com):
Wendy Phaneuf is a professional speaker and author and a global expert in employee motivation and retention. Wendy is also the Founder of The Training Source and www.LeadingforLoyalty.com — a one-stop information source that helps leaders and their organizations enhance employee motivation and retention.